CFP: Workshop on Subjectivism and Objectivism About Well-Being

Submission deadline: November 26, 2017

Conference date(s):
December 18, 2017 - December 19, 2017

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Conference Venue:

University of Tampere
Tampere, Finland

Topic areas


Can something be non-instrumentally good for you even if you don’t regard it as good in any way? One of the basic divisions among philosophical and other views of well-being concerns the role of subjective endorsement of some sort in determining what’s in our self-interest. Subjectivists about well-being hold that our subjective attitudes – desires, preferences, values, or perhaps beliefs about the good – determine what is basically good for us. Objectivists, in turn, hold that some things are good for us independently of our attitudes towards them, and may be such even if we regard them as worthless (though the nature of these objectively good things may involve positive attitudes – you can’t have the good of friendship in your life if you’re indifferent to the fate of your friend). Hybrid views hold that what is fundamentally good for us is having those objectively good things that we enjoy or otherwise respond to in a positive fashion, or more weakly that the value of either the subjective response or objective good is increased by a match between them.

The aim of this workshop is to explore the pros and cons of subjectivism, objectivism, and different possible hybrids. We’re interested in following questions, among others: Must a person have a positive response towards something (insofar as she is aware of it) for it to be basically good for her? What kind of positive response, if any, is relevant to well-being? Do pleasure and pain involve positive and negative attitudes? If some things are basically good for us independently of our attitudes, what makes them good for us? Are the basic constituents of well-being the same for adults, children, animals, and other potential well-being subjects? What implications does adopting either a subjectivist or an objectivist view have for applied ethics, such as end-of-life treatment? Should public policies that aim to benefit people be oriented by a subjective, objective, or hybrid conception of well-being?

If you are interested in presenting at the workshop, please send an abstract of 2-4 pages on these or related questions to Antti Kauppinen ( by November 26, 2017. (Note that Jennifer Hawkins and Valerie Tiberius will give their keynote talks via Skype.) We will decide on the final programme by the end of November at the latest.

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